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Annual Thompsons Lecture: Organising Migrant Workers: Global Challenges, featuring Professor Ruth Milkman

Starts: 18 March 2008

Professor Ruth Milkman

Professor Ruth Milkman

Annual Thompsons Lecture / SOCSI Foundation Lecture Series

Organising Migrant Workers: Global Challenges


Tuesday, 18 March 2008 (6.00 - 8.00 pm, Committee Room 1, Glamorgan Building King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff)

The Annual Thompson’s Public Lecture, sponsored by the Thompson’s Partnership and hosted by the Centre for Global labour Studies was a great success. Over fifty guests were presented with three informed and challenging perspectives on immigrant workers in the United States and Wales.

The three speakers were:

Professor Ruth Milkman, Director, Institute for Research on Labour and Employment, UCLA

Immigrants and Labour Organizing:  Perspectives from the USA


Charlie Jones, Project Manager, UNITE , Wales/Cymru

Organising Migrant Workers: Practical Experiences in Achieving Access Across Wales 


Victoria Winckler, Director, Bevan Foundation, Wales/Cymru 

Migrant Workers: The Welsh Trade Union Perspective



The Lecture

Professor Ruth Milkman speaking at the SOCSI Annual Thompson Lecture

The three presentations opened up questions and themes about migrant workers.

Ruth Milkman provided an engaging account of the development of labour organising in the US, with particular reference to the role and place of immigrants in this process. One of the notable points that she made is that immigrant workers have long played a leading part  in the development of trade unions in the USA.. The presentation stimulated a lively discussion among the fifty plus audience.


Charlie Jones speaking at the SOCSI Annual Thompson Lecture

Charlie Jones provided an overview of work done by UNITE the union (TGWU section) with migrant workers in Wales. She provided an insight of different activities across Wales, ranging from drop in centres to teaching programmes to information sources. One notable development is the web site ‘Access across Wales. This web site provides information about resources for migrant workers, contacts, a blog site to exchange views and more.


Victoria Winckler speaking at the SOCSI Annual Thompson Lecture

Victoria Winckler spoke to the important report she researched and wrote for the Wales TUC, One Workforce: migrant workers in Wales - a trade union report. The report looks at the issues raised for trades unions by the arrival of migrant workers in Wales from Eastern Europe. It is based on interviews with trades union officials and others. It also provides a review of literature and presents the available statistics on migrant work. As Victoria noted this data is very uneven and provides an inadequate picture of the migrant workforce in Wales. She concluded that the issues centering on migrant workers are as much about the protection afforded to ALL employees as about migrants themselves.

Peter Fairbrother


Other information

Open To: Staff and Students